Bob Hoffman
Sep 20, 2021

Wall Street Journal eviscerates Facebook

The words of the company's own executives reveal an organisation that is rotten to the core, writes The Ad Contrarian.

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

Last week, The Wall Street Journal took the scumbags, liars, squids, and creeps at Facebook apart piece by piece. In a multi-part series entitled "The Facebook Files" the Journal took internal emails it obtained from a whistleblower at Facebook and demonstrated without any question how Facebook has been continuously lying to legislators, regulators, and the public about the damage its business is doing to society.

The most shocking aspect of the series is that all the most damning information comes directly from the mouths of Facebook executives themselves. It is in the form of memos they have written to each other. They know exactly what's going on, exactly the damage they're doing, exactly the lies they perpetrate, and yet they effectively do nothing to change. The net outcome of their "concerns" is overwhelmingly to cover up and perpetuate their disgraceful misconduct.

It is perfectly clear that Facebook is an organization that is thoroughly corrupt and rotten to the core. It is also perfectly clear that Zuckerbag and Sandbag know exactly what is going and are at the center of the depraved culture that permeates the company.

The Journal series focused on several areas...

Criminal Activity: From the Journal: "In January, a former cop turned Facebook...investigator posted an all-staff memo on the company’s internal message board ... A Mexican drug cartel was using Facebook to recruit, train and pay hit men... the company didn’t stop the cartel from posting on Facebook or Instagram.."

Internal Facebook research has shown that human trafficking, sex slavery, incitement to violence, organ selling and other lovely activities are openly conducted on Facebook. Brian Boland, a former Facebook vice president said, “There is very rarely a significant, concerted effort to invest in fixing those areas.”

Standards: Facebook claims that its policies regarding behavior on its platform apply to all users equally. But it has had an ongoing secret policy called XCheck in which celebrities, politicians, and certain journalists are "whitelisted" or exempted from the standards of acceptable postings.

According to the Journal, "Whitelisted accounts shared inflammatory claims that Facebook’s fact checkers deemed false, including that vaccines are deadly, that Hillary Clinton had covered up “pedophile rings,” and that then-President Donald Trump had called all refugees seeking asylum “animals” ..."

Mental Health: Facebook's internal research showed that its Instagram division was doing serious mental health damage to teen girls, but hid the research from the public and from Congress. 13% of teen girls in the UK who were considering suicide traced their thoughts to Instagram. A research company owned by Facebook reported internally that “Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.”

An internal slide presentation reported, “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression...This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.” Of course, this was never shared publicly. Instead, at a congressional hearing, we got this horseshit from Zuckerberg, “The research that we’ve seen is that using social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental-health benefits.”

Political Radicalization: Facebook made a change to its algorithm in 2018 that made the platform more toxic to civil exchange and more susceptible to harmful content. As a result, executives proposed changes to Zuckerberg for the purpose of mitigating these harmful effects. Zuckerberg, knowing that outrageous lies and misinformation lead to greater "engagement" resisted the changes.

As I stated in my comments to members of Parliament in the UK earlier this year, Facebook's algorithm feeds divisive content in order to keep users in the "corral." According to the Journal, Facebook researchers "concluded that the new algorithm’s heavy weighting of reshared material in its News Feed made the angry voices louder. 'Misinformation, toxicity, and violent content are inordinately prevalent among reshares'.”

Covid Misinformation: Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “Through this crisis, one of my top priorities is making sure that you see accurate and authoritative information across all of our apps.” Yeah, right. In fact, Facebook has been the world's largest source of lies and misinformation about Covid. According to an internal memo, at one point Facebook users were seeing 775 million vax items a day—41% of which were anti-vaccination.

According to the authors of the memo, "even authoritative sources of vaccine information were becoming 'cesspools of anti-vaccine comments...That’s a huge problem and we need to fix it.'” Yeah, good luck with that. According to The Washington Post, US government officials have become "deeply frustrated" at Facebook's policy of stonewalling them about Covid misinformation.

The summary I have made here of The Wall Street Journal's series does not even scratch the surface. I urge you to read the full series.

In a piece entitled 'The Endless Facebook Apology' Kara Swisher, writing in the NY Times said, "It’s important to have this proof of Facebook’s duplicity. But these revelations come as a shock to no one who has been paying attention to the slippery machinations at the company over the years."

For a good laugh, here's the tone deaf response of a Facebook spokesquid to the week's bombshells: “...the suggestion we are trying to hide or prevent research into the role our platform plays is anecdotal and inconsistent with the facts.”

Dude, your company is a shit factory and you are a clown.


Bob Hoffman is the author of several best-selling books about advertising, a popular international speaker on advertising and marketing, and the creator of 'The Ad Contrarian' newsletter, where this first appeared, and blog. Earlier in his career he was CEO of two independent agencies and the US operation of an international agency.

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